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December 25, 2016

Reuters Reduces Israeli Ties to West Bank to Biblical Claim Only

In an article yesterday ("Israel to re-assess U.N. ties after settlement resolution, says Netanyahu"), Reuters reduces Israel's claim to the West Bank to biblical only. Ignoring Israel's legal claim along with a very long historical record spanning thousands of years after the biblical period, the article misleads:

Most countries view Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel disagrees, citing a biblical connection to the land. (Emphasis added.)

Reuters biblical claim.jpg

Israel's claim to the West Bank rests on international law, cultural and religious ties, and post-biblical history, including the long-term presence of Jews for thousands of years, the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference, and the League of Nations decision which was never repealed, and Article 80 of the United Nations charter which upheld Article Six of the League of Nations' Palestine Mandate enabling Jewish settlement.

Indeed, the November 2015 Ministry of Foreign Affairs document "Israeli Settlements and International Law" goes into great detail about Israeli claims to the territory grounded in international law. The document notes that the Jewish presence in the territory was:

recognized as legitimate in the Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, which provided for the establishment of a Jewish state in the Jewish people's ancient homeland.

After recognizing "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine" and "the grounds for reconstituting their national home", the Mandate specifically stipulated in Article 6 as follows:

"The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use".

Some Jewish settlements, such as in Hebron, existed throughout the centuries of Ottoman rule, while settlements such as Neve Ya'acov, north of Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion bloc in southern Judea, and the communities north of the Dead Sea, were established under British Mandatory administration prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, and in accordance with the League of Nations Mandate.

Many contemporary Israeli settlements have actually been re-established on sites which were home to Jewish communities in previous generations, in an expression of the Jewish people's deep historic and abiding connection with this land - the cradle of Jewish civilization and the locus of the key events of the Hebrew Bible. A significant number are located in places where previous Jewish communities were forcibly ousted by Arab armies or militia, or slaughtered, as was the case with the ancient Jewish community of Hebron in 1929.

For more than a thousand years, the only administration which has prohibited Jewish settlement in these areas was the Jordanian occupation administration, which during the nineteen years of its rule (1948-1967) declared the sale of land to Jews a capital offense. The right of Jews to establish homes in these areas, and the private legal titles to the land which had been acquired, could not be legally invalidated by Jordanian occupation - which resulted from their illegal armed invasion of Israel in 1948 and was never recognized internationally as legitimate - and such rights and titles remain valid to this day.

These historical and legal claims relate almost entirely to historical periods thousands of years after biblical times. CAMERA has contacted Reuters to request that editors redress the egregious omission.

Dec. 28 Update: Reuters Agrees That Israel's Claims Not only Biblical, Improves Next Article

While Reuters has declined to amend the Dec. 24 article flagged in this post, the news agency did agree with CAMERA that Israel's claim to the West Bank is not limited only to biblical ties. Indeed, a Reuters' article the next day expands that Israel's claim includes "biblical and historical connections to the West Bank and Jerusalem as well as security interests" ("Israel PM, angered by anti-settlement U.N. vote, summons U.S. ambassador").

reuters west bank claim fixed.jpg

Posted by TS at December 25, 2016 04:47 AM


Neither you nor Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs mentions that article 80 of the United Nations Charter - known as "the Palestine clause" -has preserved the rights of the Jewish people under article 6 of the Mandate to settle in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria until today.

This material omission is not new and is the principal reason Israel finds itself in the position it is today.

If you and Israel's Foreign Ministry are not aware of the following document then I respectfully suggest you both get up to speed very quickly.

Posted by: david singer at December 25, 2016 04:16 PM

Thanks, David, for your point about Article 80 of the UN Charter, which upheld Jewish rights in Palestine under Article Six of the Mandate. It is covered in one of the provided links to an older CAMERA post, but we have added it in directly to this post as well.

Posted by: TS at December 26, 2016 01:42 AM

Best article on all of Jerusalem belonging to Israel.
One Nation's Capital Forever
The detailed story of Jerusalem and our right to it. Just the facts.
By Eli E. Hertz
11/05/10 19:34

Posted by: Barry Meridian at December 27, 2016 07:15 AM

Glad to see you have rectified the omission.

Article 80 is a critical link in Israel's legal claims.

Security Council Resolution 2334 violates article 80 of the UN Charter and is therefore illegal in international law.

Posted by: david singer at January 5, 2017 10:45 PM

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